How to Brand Your Ecommerce Business in Five Easy Steps
Video transcript: Ecommerce is completely upside down right now. It's booming but there are so many uncertainties surrounding it. If you're a budding entrepreneur and have always wanted to start an online business, this can kind of be a really demoralizing time for you. If you get fixated on the news and are reading articles online, it can be really easy to get overwhelmed in this challenging time.
Rather than focus on what you can't control right now, it's important to focus on what you can, and one thing that is extremely important and you can focus on before you've even opened your store is branding.
In this video, I'm gonna teach you five simple steps on how to brand your store. I'll show you free tools that you can use for every single step, as well as real-world examples of extremely successful ecommerce stores.
Ready to get started? Let's jump in.
Hi, I'm Magda. I work with Jessica at Oberlo. Normally I'm on the other side of the camera but with everything going on, we're actually filming videos at home because we're working from home right now. Let's get right back to it.
In response to COVID-19, ecommerce expert Emma Reed said, "I used the initial China shutdown period to completely redo my website, including new product photos, branding, and a different marketing angle. I also planned and scheduled out a few months' worth of social media content. Right now, I'm putting a lot of focus on keeping margins high, so instead of trying to sell my remaining stock as fast as possible and at the expense of margins, I'm making the most profit I can, even if it takes a little longer."
Emma has been a guest on our channel before and has generated over six figures in her ecommerce store. If she's spending this time focusing on rebranding her store, there's probably a good reason and it's a reason that you should probably do as well.
There are a lot of uncertainties right now, but one thing is certain, we all have a lot more time on our hands. A lot of people see this as a perfect opportunity to finally start an online business, except for all the problems that COVID-19 has caused such as shipping delays, potential supplier issues, and border closures.
If you have always wanted to start an online business but this doesn't seem like the right time, well it still can be. There's a lot of things that you can start working towards and building such as a brand for your business so that you can set a good foundation and when everything is back to normal, you'll be able to hit the ground running.
Why is Branding Important?
But why is branding important? We all know that all stores and businesses have a brand, but is it really important? What's the purpose of it? Does it help at all with sales? Branding goes way beyond just the color or logo you use in your store.
Branding is the entire emotional experience that a customer has with your business.
Your brand is the way that a customer perceives you. Having a strong emotional connection with your customer through your branding will definitely help you make a sale.
In short, branding is the subtotal of all the experiences that a customer has with your business. Like I mentioned, if someone has a strong emotional connection to your brand, they are much more likely to make a purchase.
To show this, I always like to think of myself shopping at brick-and-mortar stores. If I shop at a store where I don't really connect with the brand or with the products or with the vision, then I'm far less likely to purchase.
However, if I go into a brick-and-mortar store and I start talking to someone that works there, I see their mission, their vision of the products, what they're trying to sell, I'm far more likely to actually make that purchase.
But even if a customer doesn't make a purchase, if someone emotionally connects with your brand, they'll be far more likely to follow your social media accounts or subscribe to your email list and ultimately, you can use that information and their follow to get them to purchase later on or build an audience list so it's easier for you to find customers in the future.
A strong brand will have a huge impact on the success of your future business.
Branding can get complicated; however, I'm gonna give you a simple five-step process to follow so that you can brand any online business, super simple and super fast.
Maybe you think branding is complicated or maybe you just wanna get branding over with and continue on to other aspects of your business. Either way, this five-step process is gonna be super simple and super fast to follow.
Shopify offers a free 14-day trial in response to COVID-19. That means you can focus your time on building a brand and building a strong foundation for your business without having to worry about paying a monthly fee. There is no better time to get started.
Step One on How to Brand: Decide on a Brand Voice
Let's start with step one. Step one is your brand's voice. The first step to branding your store is deciding on your voice. This is your tone, your attitude, and how everything in your store communicates with your customers.
Unlike a brick and mortar, you're not able to be at the cash desk explaining your mission and your values and setting a tone with your customers. In ecommerce, you need to do this through the language of your product descriptions, the words you use on your storefront, as well as the tone you use on your social media channels.
If you're wondering how to find your brand voice or what it should be, you need to get to know your audience. The easiest way to do this is to figure out where they hang out and start talking to them.
To give you an example, one of the best selling dropshipping products for the last year has actually been paint-by-numbers kits. Paint-by-numbers is a painting kit where you follow all the little squares, color them in to create a beautiful painting.
Now, paint-by-numbers' community is huge on Facebook. When I did some digging, I noticed that most people that are really interested in paint-by-numbers are part of a lot of different Facebook groups. I joined those Facebook groups and right away, I could tell the tone and the language that a lot of the audience was using.
This is why it's really important to investigate where your audience is hanging out and what media they follow. Study it and you'll be able to mimic it in your own language to speak to your customer on their level.
For example, I joined those paint-by-numbers Facebook groups. I started talking to the people in them and right away, I figured out how they talk to each other, what kind of emojis they use, what things they actually value.
That's the easiest way and the best part is, it's free.
You can easily strike up a conversation with someone on Instagram, on Facebook, or follow them on TikTok. Start interacting and engaging with them and you'll quickly be able to pick up their language.
For example, I would suggest checking out DECIEM, The Abnormal Skincare Company. DECIEM is a skincare brand that is extremely dedicated to being transparent with their audience. They offer no-fluff skincare products at a very affordable price.
This company has completely blown up in the last few years and there's a good reason for that. They know exactly what their audience is looking for. If you check out their Instagram posts, you'll be able to see that their audience is not interested in luxury products, fluff, and branding.
What they are interested in is the actual ingredients in the product and what it's gonna do for their skin. They're very blunt and they ask a lot of questions and DECIEM, in response, is very transparent about all the ingredients that they use in their products and regularly list those ingredients in their social media posts and all over their product descriptions. They absolutely speak to the audience on their level and that's one of the reasons they're extremely successful.
Step Two on How to Brand: Decide on a Business Name
Step two to branding your store is deciding on a business name. This is an important one, of course. This is how your customers are going to remember your business. If you have a store name that is memorable, your customers are far more likely to remember it and associate it with the products that you sell.
While it is important, don't get stuck trying to figure out the most unique and memorable business name that anyone has ever heard of. Don't get stuck on trying to come up with a new Nike.
Keep it simple.
Use a thesaurus and look up related words to the products you're selling, the niche that you're selling in, or the category or types of products that your store carries. Find related words and start putting them together.
Try to come up with at least ten to 20 different store names that you potentially could use. Once you've come up with a list of 20, use your gut to figure out which one sounds the best and keep it moving. If you need some help, there are tons of free business name generators online.
If you need some help, I will suggest using Shopify's free name generator. You can put in any keyword and it will list tons of different options that you can use for a store name.
However, it's important to remember that your business exists online so a store or business name pretty much equates to your domain. It's really important to make sure that you check to see if your store name dot-com is available.
While you can definitely succeed with a different domain ending such as dot-ca for example if you're in Canada, we've personally seen that most pro dropshippers suggest using a dot-com domain because it provides a sense of validity and reliability for your customers. I would suggest using namechk.com to see if it's available.
This website is amazing because you can see if your store name plus dot-com is available and you can also see if those social media handles are free, this is super important. You wanna make sure that your customers are able to find your social media accounts super easily.
When it comes to business names, the example I wanted to bring up is Gymshark. Gymshark is a tyrant in the ecommerce sports and fitness niche. Gymshark makes workout apparel for both men and women.
However, if I didn't just tell you that, you probably would have been able to figure that out from the name. It's so simple and that's why it's so perfect. It has “gym” right in the name. As soon as you read Gymshark, you know right away that the products they're selling probably relate to working out, fitness, or going to the gym. The added shark at the end creates a great emotional reaction.
If you're someone that's going to the gym and working out, then this probably speaks to you, a shark. An animal that is super strong and super powerful. This makes you think that these products are for people that want to take their workout to the next level. It doesn't need to get more complicated than that. If you're having a difficult time choosing a business name, I would suggest taking a little break, finding related words, and getting a move on. Do not get stuck on this step.
Step Three on How to Brand: Choose Your Logo
Step three is your logo. For most people, when they think of how to brand, they think of logos. We all have favorite logos we've seen that we have never, ever forgotten. For me, it's the FedEx logo. That little arrow that's been snuck in there is just genius.
Your logo is your business identity summed up into one little image.
It's easy to fantasize about creating a logo that's slick, modern, and that no one has ever seen before. If you're just getting started, it's super important to keep it simple and to the point. Focus on creating a logo that will show your customers what type of products you're selling or what category or niche you're in.
If you don't have any design experience, don't worry. It's easy to see a lot of ecommerce stores and businesses that have super slick logos and try to compare your business to theirs. Don't forget, these huge companies have actually had tons of re-brands leading them up to that point and have entire teams dedicated to the process. Focus on creating something that is simple, to the point, shares your niche or category and keeps it moving.
If you wanna create a logo that's effective, simple and you wanna do it quickly, I would suggest using a free logo generator like Hatchful.
Hatchful is a free logo generator that's super easy to use and allows you to create a logo and then export it in a variety of different formats. Formats that you can use for Instagram, for your Facebook banner, and, of course, for your online store. You can choose different categories, play around with the colors, play around with the fonts, and create a logo in just a few minutes.
I know that sounds like a sales pitch, but I really wanna push the importance of keeping it moving. As someone who's worked with hundreds of dropshippers and their stores, I can see how hung up people get on creating a logo and while it is important, you can always rebrand or spice up your logo a little later down the line.
If you really cannot make your own logo yourself, even with a logo generator, then I would suggest checking out some freelancers on Upwork or Fiverr to create one for you. Before you reach out to someone, I would definitely suggest making a mood board of different types of logo from the niche that you're selling in to make it easier for your freelancer to know what type of logo they should be creating.
For an example of a logo that speaks to the brand, I would suggest checking out Plant Circle. Plant Circle is an online store that sells plants, if you couldn't tell from the name. But even if I didn't tell you the name of the business, as soon as you jumped on to the website and saw the logo, you'd be able to tell what type of products this store sells.
It is a simple Monstera leaf outline. It's clean, gets to the point, and tells a customer exactly what this store sells. I chose this example because I wanted you to see how simple and easy it can be and don't overthink it.
Step Four on How to Brand: Choose a Typography
The fourth step in branding your store is typography. The typography you use has a huge impact on your customer's experience. When you're editing your theme on Shopify, you can actually change fonts all over your store. There is a huge list of fonts to choose from, but which font means what? Which one should you use? And what's really the point of them?
I will be honest, when you're scrolling through all the available fonts and there are a lot, it can be a little overwhelming.
First, think about all the other components of your brand so far. How are you trying to speak and communicate with your customer? Are you trying to have a professional tone, a serious tone, or are you trying to keep it light-hearted?
Sans Serif fonts are the most popular to use.
They're modern, clean, and really easy to read. Serif fonts are often considered old-fashioned, but these are fonts that are much more reserved for companies like the New York Times.
Deciding on the perfect font comes down to figuring out your target audience. Are they modern, younger, older, more old-fashioned? This is important information to know to help you decide the perfect fonts to use.
If you need some help, I would suggest looking at your competitors' ecommerce stores or some of the biggest ecommerce stores in your niche. These stores hire professionals to brand their store and figure out the best types of fonts to use. Just learn it from them.
If they're using a more modern style font, you should be too. If their typography is a lot more old-fashioned then I would suggest making yours a little more old-fashioned too. Don't be afraid to test out different types of fonts. Most importantly, make sure it's readable.
To see an amazing example of the power of typography, I would suggest checking out the ecommerce apparel store COS. If you look at the font that they use, you can see it's very minimal, very simple, and very clean. Just look at the clothing that they sell. It perfectly mimics the typography they use for their product descriptions and for the rest of the store.
Without even looking at the store, you can already tell the type of clothing and the type of tone that COS has. Their professional, light, and clean font perfectly reflects the type of clothing that they sell.
Step Five on How to Brand: Select the Right Colors
Step number five to branding your store is colors. Colors are always one of the funnest aspects of branding, but it's not just fun. The psychology behind color can really help to establish a lot of trust and familiarity by eliciting the right emotions from a customer.
As a marketer, which you need to be if you run your own online business, it's extremely helpful to understand how the psychology of colors can send the right message to your target audience.
How do people respond to different colors?
Let's start with red. Red evokes a very passionate response. It's generally associated with energy and excitement. Purple is sophisticated yet mysterious. It tends to be used with higher-end products due to its association with royalty. Blue is the most popular color for brands. It is thought to put people at ease and reminds people of the sky and the ocean.
Green is a color synonymous with ease, calmness, and nature. Yellow is a popular color choice that evokes a lot of happiness and positivity. Black is another very popular color choice for brands because it's very simple, sophisticated, and classic. It also works great with luxury products. White represents simplicity and purity. It's perfect for health, home, and any sort of child-related businesses.
Reflect back on every other step that you've completed. Also, your tone and your customer. What type of emotional connection or message are you trying to send to them? Of course, there is no strict rule when it comes to what colors you can use for your business. If you want customers to instantly feel an emotion, this is a really helpful guideline to follow.
One thing that's really important to remember is to keep it simple. I would suggest only using two or three colors maximum when it comes to deciding on them for your brand. It's important to remember to keep it simple.
Use a maximum of one to two main colors and a second or third secondary color when it comes to your store and your branding.
You don't wanna confuse your customers. For a great example of color, I would suggest checking out Casper. Casper is a widely successful ecommerce store that sells mattresses and now other products related to a good night’s sleep.
The first time I came across Casper was when I was riding the subway and I saw their ads all over. They were dark blue with a light blue highlight. They were striking. They were very calming to look at and after that, I never forgot their brand.
If you go on their website, you'll see that dark, calming blue everywhere. It's no surprise that a lot of sleep-related companies use dark blue in their branding and in their logos. The color blue just puts people at ease psychologically and that's why it makes the perfect color for this brand.
Well, those are the five steps that will help you understand how to brand your online business. If you're looking for simple templates to follow for different types of niches, for example, a kitchen niche, make sure to follow our Instagram account, it will be linked down in the description below. If you have any questions or suggestions, make sure to leave them down in the comments below and until next time, happy dropshipping.
Want to Learn More?
- 10 Branding Statistics You Need to Know in 2020 [Infographic]
- 12 Great Examples of Brand Guidelines (And Tips to Make Your Own)
- The Ultimate Guide to Brand Strategy
- The Ultimate Guide to Brand Image